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ALS warrior Jenni Berebitsky passes away

Jenni Berebitsky with husband Jeff and son Philip.

UPDATE: Jenni's obit in The Indianapolis Star:

RIP Jenni. You fought long and hard.


Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Inc. presents a new award honoring the courage and spirit of Jenni Berebitsky, whose documentary "Grateful" chronicles her battle with ALS, Here is their press release:

Heartland Film Inc. has announced a new cash prize award for their Indy Shorts International Film Festival (Indy Shorts), a festival exclusively featuring short films 40 minutes or less in length. The Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award honors longtime Heartland Film friend Jenni Berebitsky, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in March 2009. The $1,800 award will recognize one short film in the Indy Shorts lineup for the best embodiment of Jenni’s spirit and legacy.

“Jenni has lived courageously and joyfully with the challenges of this relentless disease, and we’re thrilled to award a filmmaker this prize in her honor,” said Craig Prater, Heartland Film President. “The winning film will best capture the triumph of the human spirit and a person’s capacity to inspire others, just as Jenni does.”

The documentary short film “Grateful: The Jenni Berebitsky Story” was released and won, among other tributes, the Audience Choice Award at last year’s Indy Shorts. Heartland Film also plans to begin accepting donations specifically to go towards the sustainability of the award for future prize money.

“It is no easy task to create a piece of art that is both meaningful and entertaining,” said Dr. Jenni Berebitsky. “I am honored to play a role, alongside Heartland Film, in this award that encourages filmmakers to follow a dream and inspire audiences around the world.”

The Indy Shorts International Film Festival will be July 25-28 at Newfields. Indy Shorts, an Academy Award-qualifying film festival, is the largest short film festival in the Midwest with over 100 films shown. Tickets for Indy Shorts events and screenings will go on sale June 28 and can be purchased online at

Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. The films selected do more than just entertain; they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, and shift audiences’ perspectives on the world. For more information, visit

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